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Read Letter Game 

Local mom capitalizes on the ABCs of photography in New Orleans.

When it comes to getting your child interested in learning, sometimes you have to get creative. For Amy Marquis, a little alphabet game became the inspiration for a new enterprise. To make learning the ABCs fun for her 3-year-old daughter Zoe, the two would play a modified version of "I Spy," looking for letter shapes in everyday things around town, and New Orleans proved to be fertile ground for their quest.

"There's so much historic architecture here. Everywhere you turn, you see something beautiful and ornate," says Marquis, who began photographing their finds when she started taking a newly purchased camera along on walks around the block with Zoe. "Gingerbread work on houses is great, and wrought-iron fences are a gold mine."

When Marquis decided to start selling her work, her parents' Metairie frame shop, Framin' Place & Gallery (3535 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-3311), seemed the natural choice. She also has a Web site (www.NOLAlphabet.com) and a booth at the Mid City Art Market. Customers can select from popular choices — NOLA or LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE — or custom-order names and other words. Framed words (as shown) are $125 for four letters, $150 for five letters, and so on. Matted words start at $40 for three letters and $10 for each additional letter. Pricing varies if you choose a different mat or frame.

Marquis considers herself an amateur photographer, but is constantly working to improve her craft and is taking photography classes at the New Orleans Academy Fine of Arts. She has been encouraged to find that her images can hold up even for individuals who don't automatically perceive them as letters. "Some people will come to my table [at the art market] and just stare at the photos and appreciate without even noticing the gimmick," says Amy. "So that makes me feel more like a real artist."

click to enlarge Photo of Marquis taken by her daughter Zoe, now 4 years - old.
  • Photo of Marquis taken by her daughter Zoe, now 4 years old.
click to enlarge q-ind-15157.jpeg
click to enlarge q-ind-15157.jpeg
click to enlarge q-ind-15157.jpeg
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